Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Julia: Sounds Exciting!

I've been hearing about the excitement around Julia language on and off for a while now. It is hard to avoid, given my line of work. Today I took some time to scope out the landscape, and I like what I see!

Here is a quick introduction to why the authors decided to create Julia. Basically, it sets out with a fairly ambitious mandate.
We want a language that’s open source, with a liberal license. We want the speed of C with the dynamism of Ruby. We want a language that’s homoiconic, with true macros like Lisp, but with obvious, familiar mathematical notation like Matlab. We want something as usable for general programming as Python, as easy for statistics as R, as natural for string processing as Perl, as powerful for linear algebra as Matlab, as good at gluing programs together as the shell. Something that is dirt simple to learn, yet keeps the most serious hackers happy. We want it interactive and we want it compiled.
It has a Matlab like syntax and flexibility, and from benchmarks it seems  to approach the performance of C and Fortran.

The language is still in active development, and if it lives up to some of its promise, I can see it being a game-changer in scientific computing.

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